LRIP

US Observe Pakistan’s Critical Role in Afghanistan

September 08, 2021

The US State Department has urged Pakistan to play a key role in establishing an inclusive government in Kabul, while a lawmaker has advised that the US may re-enter Afghanistan if the situation worsens. The statements come after commitments from Pakistan’s US and UN envoys that Islamabad want an inclusive government in Kabul and willing to collaborate with the international community. When asked to comment on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, a State Department spokesperson told Dawn on Tuesday, “We have been in regular contact with the Pakistani leadership and have discussed Afghanistan in detail.”

“Pakistan has often and widely endorsed for an inclusive government with widespread support in Afghanistan, and we expect Pakistan to play a critical role in facilitating that outcome,” the official added. The Taliban announced an interim government dominated by the group’s old guard on Tuesday, with no women included. The new government is led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, a close adviser to the group’s late founder, Mullah Omar, and does not reflect the inclusion and participation that Washington seeks.

Hours before the official statement, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham believed that the US would re-invade Afghanistan if the Taliban allowed militants to re-establish themselves in a country that was allegedly used to coordinate attacks on US soil in September 2001. “The Taliban are not transformed, they are not new,” Senator Graham said. “Most importantly, they are going to give safe haven to Al Qaeda, who has ambitions to drive us out of the Middle East and attack us because of our way of life.”

“We will return to Afghanistan in the same way that we returned to Iraq and Syria.” Stephen Sackur, the interviewer, disrupted him and asked, “Do you seriously believe the US will send troops back to Afghanistan in the near future?” Senator Graham responded, saying: “We’ll have to do it. We’ll have to do it. It will be a breeding ground for radical Islamic behavior.” The US invaded Iraq in 2003, withdrew its forces in 2011, and then reintroduced them three years later. Nearly 2,500 American troops remain on the ground. However, no US official has mentioned the need to re-send US troops to Afghanistan.

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